Cascade Raptor Center

The Cascade Raptor Center is a local non-profit that provides medical care to injured or orphaned birds of prey as well as educational programs about the important role these birds play in nature. Perhaps you’ve seen their ambassador birds at a local event or heard about their work rehabilitating injured birds and releasing them back into the wild. But, did you know that you can take a self-guided tour of their facilities?

Bald Eagle at the Cascade Raptor Center

I don’t consider myself to be a “birder,” however, I do enjoy watching birds, and I find raptors especially intriguing. Seeing bald eagles fly over Dorena Reservoir while enjoying the Row River Trail is always  a thrill, and I like seeing the hawks come back every winter to hunt along the freeway. So, when I learned that touring the Raptor Center was possible, I knew I needed to get up there.

Trails and aviaries at the Cascade Raptor Center.

The Raptor Center sits in the hills south of Eugene, about a 30-minute drive from Cottage Grove. Gravel trails wind up and down the hill around the Center, past outdoor aviaries which house the birds. You’ll get a laminated map at the visitor center which will guide you around the trails. Each bird has a history card telling the story of how they came to live at the Raptor Center. You’ll also find information about the bird species.

When we toured, an educational table was set up outside the visitor center. We got to feel the heft of raptor wings and see how owl feet and talons look different (and function differently) than osprey feet and talons.

The underside of an Osprey foot. Look at those talons and the barbs that help the osprey grasp it prey.

We were also fortunate to be nearby when Kit, the Education Director, was tending to and feeding two of the raptors. I was impressed with how attentive to the birds she was, even as she was answering our questions.

Kit and Guapo (a Swainson’s hawk).

If you want to know more about the Cascade Raptor Center, I encourage you to check out their website, including the awesome photography of the birds.

The Raptor Center is open year-round, but times vary depending on the season. Also, I need to note that touring the facilities is not free, and isn’t cheap. If the price is a concern, check with your local library which may have a free family pass available.

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